Sunday, August 15, 2010

2010 Preview: Green Bay Packers

2009 Record: 11-5

2009 Rankings:
Total Offense - 6
Run Offense - 14
Pass Offense - 7
Scoring Offense - 3
Total Defense - 2
Run Defense - 1
Pass Defense - 5
Scoring Defense - 7

As the season wore on, Green Bay's offense got more and more potent and their secondary more and more exposed. They avenged their loss in the Bay of Pigs game to the Creamsicle Bucs with a 5-game winning streak. However, they were undone by the Steelers and Cardinals via an aerial assault. For much of the season, Green Bay's offensive line was like a block of swiss cheese and QB Aaron Rodgers got sacked more than any other quarterback in the league. The Packers went straight out and addressed their issues in the offseason. They allowed disgruntled LB Aaron Kampman to walk in free agency, drafted OT Brian Bulaga (Iowa) to help with the protection issues.

Aaron Rodgers spreads the ball around better than any quarterback not named Drew Brees. Green Bay's offense is loaded with weapons from #1 Greg Jennings (1113 yds, 4 TD), Donald Driver (1061 yds, 6 TD), Tight Ends Jermichael Finley (676 yds, 5 TD), James Jones (440 yds, 5 TD), and WR Jordy Nelson (320 yds, 2 TD). Green Bay's offense is versatile enough in the red zone, fullbacks had 6 receiving touchdowns last season. On the ground, Ryan Grant was a solid back, putting up over 1200 yards and 11 TDs. In addition to being very efficient with the ball, Green Bay doesn't turn the ball over on offense. Their offense is one of the best in the league, and would have carried them to a division title last year if it wasn't for some guy named Favre tearing up their defense. I suppose Jared Allen having a field day with their O-line didn't hurt either.

On defense, the Packers switched to a 3-4 last year and used their first round pick BJ Raji as the anchor at nose tackle. Former USC LB Clay Matthews had a great rookie year, leading the team with 10 sacks and going to the Pro Bowl. Matthews will need to follow up on his success with another stellar year, and all signs seem to point to his continued success. Matthews excells in the 3-4 system and with Charles Woodson and Al Harris at the corners, Green Bay's pass defense is nothing to laugh at either. Both Woodson and Harris are getting up there in years, but are still capable of playing at a high level.

The Packers have all the pieces in place to make a deep run into the playoffs in 2010. Hell, we'll even go as far as to say they're legit Super Bowl contenders. Their offense can spread the ball around, and with some better consistency in the secondary, can make a run at the Saints in the NFC. Whether or not the Vikings most recent Quarterback decides to return or keep doing Levi's commercials, the Packers have improved in the offseason and are, in our minds, the preseason favorites to win the NFC North.

Ian's Prediction: 12-4

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